Recently a politician, who was well known for his position in government several years ago, appeared on television news programs to talk about his strong support of the Green New Deal.
I have a little trouble understanding everything involved in the Green New Deal. I recently read the following comments about it, “The Green New Deal is a progressive wish list that is masquerading as climate policy. The purpose is a congressional resolution that lays out a grand plan for tackling climate change. Wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet greenhouse gas emissions across the economy”.
According to this person, his followers, and some scientists involved in the Green New Deal, it is hotter now than it used to be and is melting everything! I wonder if any of those people ever heard about “threshing time in the good ole days”?
Growing up on a farm in the 1940’s and 1950’s, I remember harvest time and threshing grain in the July and August heat. In those days the different grains, wheat, oats, rye, spelt, and barley were harvested with a “grain binder” that cut the stalks of grain, tied them with twine into a bundle called a “sheaf” and dropped them in the field.
The men picked them up and set them up in “shocks” all over the field. They then bent a couple of the sheaves making a “cap” that was placed on the top of the shock to help keep the grain dry when it rained.
On threshing day they would go out with wagons, pitch the sheaves onto the wagon where a man would “stack” them and when the wagon was loaded it was driven to the threshing machine, which had been set up and prepared, where the sheaves were unloaded and went through the thresher to separate the grain and straw.
I was allowed to go with my Dad and drive a tractor or team of horses as the wagons were being loaded. So I experienced “threshing time” first hand at an early age.
There would be a farmer in the area or a group of farmers who owned a threshing machine and the big tractor needed to pull and run it. Farmers were put on a list telling them when the threshing machine would be at their farm---providing there wasn’t any breakdowns! Everyone hoped the hot and dry weather would last for several days until the threshing was done.
As the grain was separated from the straw, the straw was either blown into a “straw stack” outside or blown into a straw shed or into a “hay mow” inside the barn. When it went into the straw shed or mow, there had to be men inside to move the straw back into the corners.
There was seldom any air moving in those areas and it was hot! Outside temperatures were usually in the 90’s or 100’s and inside it was hotter! The work of moving the straw back was hot, dirty and dusty. I have seen farmers emerge from those areas soaking wet with sweat, arms and faces covered with black dirt and dust from the weeds and “smut”! The men would head for the well and the hand pump, where they would drench themselves with the cool water. They were already soaked with sweat so being wet from the water didn’t matter!
The wives and ladies would have gathered to prepare the noon meal for the men, who after eating would take a little time under the shade trees to rest and then it was back to work and the heat until time to head to their homes for evening chores.
Anyone who experienced threshing days knows that it was just as hot in those days as it is now. People didn’t have the different ways to keep cool as they do now. When the heat was severe the nights were often spent sleeping outside under a shade tree and hoping it didn’t rain and the bugs didn’t bite.
Meals were often something quick and cold, as it was just too hot to cook on a coal stove. Some people had “summer kitchens”, a building away from the house where they did their cooking and baking. A farm pond or a deep spot in the creek was a blessing often enjoyed!
How I wish that politician and his friends could have experienced “threshing time”. The scientists who furnish the facts and figures for the Green New Deal are sitting behind desks in air-conditioned rooms on hot summer days. Other scientists and people who disagree with their ideas often wind up in lawsuits!
While the farmers are helped with the heat in a lot of ways in this day and age, they still experience hot days and hard work. Perhaps the politicians and their friends should be invited to spend a few hot summer days helping on some of the farms. They could help unload and stack small square bales of straw or hay, help milk cows, clean the calf hutches, work in the fields, etc.
I am sure that all farmers could find interesting things for them to do. Of course, we all know, they are going to want to visit the farms with the air-conditioned tractors!
“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” is a saying we have all heard! “Men argue. Nature acts.” (Voltaire)
A columnist whose work appears in newspapers great and small, Barb Lumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org